2013 Wrap Up and Top 13 Books of ’13!

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Oh my goodness, we have made it through another year! Happy 2014 everyone!

So for 2013 my goal was to read 100 books. And I… fell short. BY 6 BOOKS!!!! Ugh. All that studying got in my way. But I accomplished my goals of school, so I guess I’ll accept that I only read 94 books (haha, only).

I read some awesome books this year, and quite a few awesome series (serieses? I know that’s wrong but it’s kinda cool.) I also read some not so awesome books (City of Fallen Angels, I’m looking at you). And I even read some books that I had to put down repeatedly because I would feel rage coming on (Beautiful Disaster, I’m side-eyeing the shit out of you). And yes, there were some books I started and simply could never finish, such as The Magicians and Mrs. Quent, which I conveniently lost my place in 1/4 of the way through. I also couldn’t finish City of Lost Souls, even on an audiobook, because I just could not handle Clary and Jace for one more second. Sorry Ms. Clare.

I picked 13 books/series that were my top favorites of the year. Yes I combined stand-alones and series because I really couldn’t decide on the books in the series that I included. They are in no order, they are just the ones that I loved the most.

  •  The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan (The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian). Oh I loved reading all about the life of Percy Jackson and his friends in this series. As I’ve said all year, Rick Riordan hooks me in from the beginning and when I finish I want more. And speaking of Rick Riordan series, the next title on my list is:
  • The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan (The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, The Mark of Athena, and The House of Hades). These ones were slightly darker than the PJO series, and the wait between The Mark of Athena and The House of Hades was terrible. This series is not yet complete, we still have The Blood of Olympus to read soon. Oh booooy… Love these books.
  • The Darkest Minds Series by Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds, In Time, and Never Fade). This series was a wonderfully dark and addictive series that I can’t wait to read the final installment of and I hope that Ms. Bracken does another short story between Never Fade and the final (still untitled) book. Yes, I did think they were slightly creepy, but I did not mind it at all, I could not put the books down ever.
  • A Million Suns and Shades of Earth by Beth Revis. I started reading this trilogy in 2012, and loved the last two books in it so much. Yes, the cover change drove me nuts, but the content of the books, sci-fi fantasy, were perfect all the same.
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Oh this book. This beautiful, painful book. The final bits of this book absolutely destroyed me and the whole thing was just so wonderful. If you’ve seen the movie with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, but haven’t read the book, please read the book. They left so much out in the movie and some of the parts they left out were so wonderful.
  • The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess). This series was everything The Mortal Instruments series wasn’t. It was much better written than TMI was, and the characters were so much more interesting. I loved reading about Will, Jem, Tess, Charlotte, and Henry and all the others. I also loved seeing the creations and backstories on many people, places, and things in TMI, and loved seeing ancestry of certain TMI characters. And while some may not have loved the ending, I really did.
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Oh this book, this lovely, wonderful book. I read this in December, so look for more about it in the December Wrap Up post, but this book was just so wonderful. I loved Cath and Wren and Reagan and Levi. It was so great. Now I have to read Eleanor and Park because Rowell has me hooked on her writing.
  • The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth (Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant). Yay dystopia! Tris was such a great character, and while the ending of this series may have been (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) painful, it was a great series and I sort of understand why Roth wrote the ending the way she did. READ THESE BOOKS BEFORE THE MOVIE COMES OUT! The movie will be great though, can’t wait to see it.
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy. Alien invasion, dis-trust of everyone, and some awesome characters made this book so great. I had no clue who to believe and who not to believe and was hooked through every sentence. I cannot wait for The Infinite Sea to come out, pre-ordered and everything. Although I can say I’m only slightly disappointed the second book won’t be titled “The 6th Wave”.
  • Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu (Legend, Prodigy, Champion). Wow this series was great. Everything about it from the covers to the type-color in each book for Day to the plot was awesome. Although dammit that ending! June, you should have set Day straight!!! ARGH! But the world was so cool and the characters were awesome, I’m so glad I picked the series up. Hopefully Ms. Lu will write something new in the next few years.
  • The Women of the Underworld Series by Kelley Armstrong (Bitten, Stolen, Dime Store Magic, Industrial Magic, Haunted, Broken, and No Humans Involved). Meera started me on this series this past summer and it has been so fun so far. I love that they have Elena,  female werewolf, as one of the main characters. All the women in these books are awesome, and some of them started as kind of wimpy and really grew in the books. I still have six more to go in this series, and I’m sure they’re all gonna be awesome!
  • The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing). This was a really cool trilogy to start me on Libba Bray books. Gemma was a great teen protagonist and this trilogy was dark and captivating and beautiful. I love historical fiction, so that excited me too. And the ending was really great for Anne, Gemma, and Felicity.
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer. The first in the Lunar Chronicles, I read this in December, so again, I’ll get to review it more later. But it was a great read, I love fairy tale retellings. I also went straight to Books A Million and picked up Scarlet (on sale too!!!) after finishing this book. And I’ll be pre-ordering Cress and Winter too. It’s gonna be great.

So that’s my list of Top 13 of ’13. I’ll get to the December Wrap Up/January TBR post tomorrow. Hopefully.

June TBR

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So yesterday we did the May Wrap Up. Today, let’s do the June TBR!

June

Yes, I’m really trying to read all of those books this month. I may be a little crazy, I don’t know.

So this month also kicks off A Very Potter Summer. From June 1 to August 11, I’ll be reading all of the Harry Potter books. The schedule is June 1- June 6: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone; June 7- June 12: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; June 13- June 18: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; June 19- June 30: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; July 1- July 14: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; July 15- July 28: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; July 29- August 11: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So from that is why there are four extra books on my June TBR list.

The first non-Harry Potter book I’ll be reading is The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. The beginning of another Rick Riordan series! YES! Even if I get more stressed out from this one, I’m still excited. I love his books.

The next book I’ll be reading is Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Picking right up where Divergent left off and hopefully will be another book I have trouble to put down. I’m sure all of my questions won’t be answered, and I’m also sure that I’ll have even more questions when I finish this and will then have to wait until Allegiant comes out to get some answers. Yay for books that leave you with more questions than answers!

I’ll also be reading Born in Death by J.D. Robb this month. This is book 23 of the In Death series. What kind of horrible killer is it this time? I get to see more Trueheart, right? I love to see all the different characters in this book. I love that Mavis is doing her best to make Roarke and Eve go outside their comfort zone by being her birthing coaches. Not sure how Eve is going to handle that, it’s not really her thing. But she loves Mavis, so I’m sure it’ll be fun to see. Also, will Mavis finally have her baby in this book?

As I (finally) finished The Fiery Cross last month, I get to start on A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon this month. We keep getting closer and closer to the start of the American Revolution, and it’ll get tricky for Jamie to not be blamed for being loyal to the crown as things go along. But it’ll be great to read, no matter what. And we’re also getting closer to the threatened fire from a newspaper clipping Brianna and Roger found in the future. Will Jamie and Claire be able to escape their fate? But, Ian is back, so that makes everything more awesome!

If I have time, I’d also like to read The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein. I want to tackle The Lord of the Rings trilogy this summer, but we’ll have to see, since I’m also doing the AVPS this summer. Going to try to get to it though!

So that’s all I”m reading this month. We’ll see if I actually accomplish all of this or not. I hope I can do it! I want to read all of these books. Although I expect I’ll be reading A Breath of Snow and Ashes for a few months.

Till next time!

May Wrap Up

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We have made it to June! Hello summer!!! Hello summer break! So, let’s get to it! For the month of May I finished twelve books and have three unfinished ones to read in June.

May TBR

The first book I finished was The Last Olympian of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. It. Was. Amazing! The fighting/battles/war basically started in the second chapter and things just kept going from there. I was still in classes when I read this book, and we were doing presentations in class, I read every second I could while other people were setting up their presentations, and only put it down when I absolutely had to. I tried my hardest to read this book slowly, but failed and still started and finished it on May 1. Way to go Percy. You can say you are one of the guys who got out of the Friendzone. Percabeth for life, y’all!

The next book I finished was Memory in Death by J.D. Robb, book 22 in the In Death series. This was a good In Death book, although she broke a little from the standard format in that there was only one murder in this book and one attempted murder, while usually there are three murders in each book. Eve’s horrible, terrible, no good, very bad former foster mother comes back in this book to hunt her up because she loooooooves her (or really she’d love to blackmail some money out from her and Roarke). And Eve finds her a few days later in her hotel room. Dead. Kinda had an idea about who did it, but I was still interested to find out. And can we please just take a minute to appreciate the adorable awesomeness that is Officer Troy Trueheart? Because oh my god I love him. If these characters weren’t just book characters but were really people, I’d love Troy. He’s awesome. Yes, Roarke is the awesomest awesome man ever, but if I so much as made a try for him, Eve would kick my ass. Not that Roarke would pay attention, as he only has eyes for his Darling Eve. But still. Love Trueheart. No matter how silly his last name may be. Loved this book.

I also read Clockwork Princess, the final book of the Infernal Devices series, by Cassandra Clare. I absolutely loved this book. Clare did really well with this one. I know that not everyone is satisfied with the ending of the book, but as I loved Jem, I loved the ending. This was another book I had trouble putting down. Even when I was studying for finals. I actually finished it the night before finals, because I knew if I didn’t finish it from the point I was at the night before my microbiology final, I would not be able to focus on the test, because I was focused too much on WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN TO WILL AND TESSA AHHHHHH! I also love, love, LOVED that there was a family tree on the inside of the book jacket, and I was able to confirm some of my guesses on who’s related to who in the two series. Although dammit, this book makes it so I have to finish the Mortal Instruments series to figure out some of the stuff referred to at the end of this book. DAMN YOU CLARE!!!! MORE IRRITATION AT JACE AND CLARY FOR ME!!! Preserve me. But I loved this series. It’s going on my favorites shelf. Just please don’t pull a Mortal Instruments and make it a six part series.

After this I finished The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long. I liked this one. I like fairy tales, so I liked it. Although it wasn’t a I-can’t-put-this-down book for me. But the take that she did on fae lore was pretty interesting. Although I’m glad it’s a stand-alone novel and not the start of a series. I’m not sure I’d want to read a whole series. I’ll admit the ending made me happy. It was a good bit.

I then read Divergent by Veronica Roth. I loved it! WHY DID I TAKE SO LONG TO START THIS SERIES?! It’s great! An engaging story that I could not put down. If I got to work before 7:30, when I start work, I read. After getting back from walking at lunch, if it wasn’t 1 yet, I read. Any spare moment I had, I read. Who needs sleep when you’ve got the Dauntless and the Erudite starting stuff? I do admit that I figured out who Four was right away. Although I’m going to keep referring to him as Four, because it sounds cooler than Tobias. To me at least. It was also easy to figure out that Tris’s mother was Dauntless born. But even with those things, this book was great. I really can’t wait to see what happens in Insurgent and Allegiant.

I also borrowed some books from the Maryland Digital Library onto my kindle (I’m bad at returning books on time, so digital library is great for me. They just take the books off my kindle when they’re due!). The first of these was Delirium by Lauren Oliver. This was an engrossing book, I can’t help but love books about different dystopian societies. Although I guess if I lived in the world of Delirium, I wouldn’t.  Ahaha, I’m hilarious, I know. The books just kind of make me glad that I don’t live in a dystopian world. I can’t wait to see where Pandemonium and Requiem take me! I got lucky, Pandemonium was on sale in the Amazon Kindle bookstore for $.99! Snapped it up right away, so I can read it soon!

The next book I borrowed was The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter. This was a different modernization of Greek mythology, looking more at the story of Hades and Persephone. I liked it, it had an interesting take, but I’m not sure I’ll read the other two books in this series. It didn’t pull me in much.

I borrowed Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor in audiobook format as well. I’m not sure I’m more glad I only borrowed this book, or that I borrowed it in audiobook format. The first half of this book was wonderful. The descriptions of Prague, Marrakesh, and the shop where the main character lived for a few years were amazing. Upped Prague and Marrakesh on my list of places I need to see. They had been there already, but even more so now. And Karou was awesome in the first half. But the second half. Ugh, the second half. Karou and Akiva met and boom, insta twu wuv. The two of them kept going on and on about how beautiful the other one was. And they kept telling me that Karou had blue hair. I felt like it was just OMG, DID YOU KNOW KAROU HAS BLUE HAIR?! KAROU HAS BLUE HAIR! And there were so many flashbacks and flashbacks within flashbacks in the second half. I didn’t really even know what was going on near the end. All I really knew was that it took Karou and Akiva a really ridiculously long time to break a damn wishbone. Because of this, I’m not sure I’ll get Days of Blood and Starlight. I may not have a clue what’s going on and I may just be annoyed.

I also borrowed Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. I liked this one. Some bits were a little predictable, but this form of story about an angel was also very interesting. It was a little angsty. I still can’t wait to continue reading this series. Also, I like Tucker. Way more than I liked Christian. At least for book one. I felt Clara must have been blind to not know that Tucker had a thing for her. Everyone else knew. But I hope they work out their relationship, because they’re cute together.

The last book I borrowed and finished was A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. This is the first book in the Gemma Doyle series, and it was a great book. I read it while in the waiting room at the hospital when my pop had surgery, and in a few hours I was halfway through. I finished it soon after. A few things I saw coming, but a few of the twists she put in there I did not see coming at all. I had read reviews of this book with people saying that the main girls in this book were self-absorbed. Let me just point out that the main girls in this book were 16 and 17 years old. This is a realistic portrayal of teenage girls. No matter who they are and how good they are, all 16/17 year old’s are a little self-absorbed. I’ll be buying the rest of this series as soon as possible so I can finish it.

I also got The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein and read it through. While I had to work to get through the part that was in the movie for some inexplicable reason, I really loved the book. Also, they really expanded the little section of the book that they used for An Unexpected Journey. Dang! But I loved every second I read it after that part. Even though some of my favorite dwarfs didn’t live to see the end of the book. Some did. I also reread some scenes once I finished them, they had just been so good. Like the introduction of Bilbo to Smaug. Pretty awesome.

And, big surprise, I FINALLY FINISHED THE FIERY CROSS (by Diana Gabaldon)!!! I mean, I’d only been reading it for five months. At the rate it takes me to read these, I’ll have just finished A Breath of Snow and Ashes and An Echo in the Bone by the time my mom gets and reads Written in my Own Heart’s Blood this fall. So my timing is great. This book stressed me out some (Really Gabaldon, really? You try to kill Roger and Jamie at places too close to each other in this book? Not cool. Try not to give me a heart attack like that again.) and made me laugh and cry some. Certain characters returned and made me happy, I hated certain characters even more (really, Stephen Bonnet is a dick), and certain characters reconciled. Can’t wait to go to the next one!

There were also three books I read and did not finish in May. The first one was Maids of Misfortune by Louisa M. Locke. I really can’t wait to finish this one, because it gets more interesting all the time. It’s turning out to be a great cross of historical fiction and murder mystery.

I also borrowed but have not finished Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. It’s dragons, it’s fantasy, it’s interesting. Really, I love dragons. I can’t help it. Gotta finish it soon. It’s due in a few days.

I also borrowed City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare on audiobook, and am dragging my feet to finish it. I borrowed this thanks to the Infernal Devices series tying in. All I can say is Ugh. Jace and Clary annoy me. Alec annoys me. Isabelle makes it just a little more bearable for me. I can’t wait to just get it finished. Ugh.

That’s all the books I read this month. As this was really long, I’ll do the TBR in a separate post later today. It’s already a long enough post!

April Wrap Up/May TBR

Book Post Title PictureYes! It’s May! See how close we’re getting to summer? I officially have two weeks until classes are out for summer. AND I’m taking NO summer classes this year! Awesome!! So I can read more books! And sleep. I really need sleep.

So, let’s review what was read in the month of April. I’ll admit it, I didn’t finish my list this month. School took over. I had papers to write and tests to study for and papers to write. Yes, I said papers to write twice. I had a lot of writing to do. And also, baseball is back, so I watched a lot of that too. Let’s go O’s, hon!

But, the first book I read was Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book 4, The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan. Oh it was good. I finished it too quickly though. Which happens often, since Riordan’s stories just pull me in and don’t release me until I’ve finished the last page. I have one book left in this series, which I’m sad and excited about. One of my favorite things about this series is that unlike so many other YA books, he doesn’t really use a love triangle as a plot point the way other books do (Twilight, I’m looking at you). I’m sure I’ll be reading other works of his when I finish this series.

The next book I read was Origin in Death by J.D. Robb. This was book 21 in the series, and probably the one that has confused me the most so far. Just all that went in to what happened with the Icove family and other plot points. I’m pretty sure Avril Icove and crew will be showing up in further books in this series. This is definitely a series I’d recommend to people, J.D. Robb writes well, even with cranking all the books out like she does. I’ve finished 21 books and they have yet to feel stale.

The third book I read was Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. While I felt some characters were an exact replica of characters from her Mortal Instruments Series (Will… you are Jace, and just as annoying to me), other characters are wonderful. I love Jem and his steadiness and strength. Although you never know what Clare will do next to her characters. Tessa doesn’t drive me nuts in the way Clary does, she seems less dumb. I felt sad for Jessamine in this book, the choices she made definitely weren’t the best, even if the reasons she made them made sense for her character. Henry and Charlotte are awesome characters too. And as Clare does to me with almost all of her books, I flew through this book in a day. (Note, the only book of hers that took me a good week to get through was City of Fallen Angels) I can’t wait to read what happens in the final book, Clockwork Princess.

The fourth book I planned to read this month was The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen M. Beckett. That didn’t happen. Between all the school stuff, my bookmark actually falling out of my book the other day, and the part where the writing read the same way I felt Pride and Prejudice read, slow, tedious, heavy, and slightly boring, I just couldn’t get through it this month. However, since the plot held promise and intrigued me, I’ll do my best to finish it some time. Can’t promise I’ll read the rest of the series though.

I also attempted to read Forbidden by Sarah Swan. However, I hit my limit on the slut-shaming she did in that book and just quit. Tracy just kept dissing how friends of hers were flirting with certain guys and other such things, and I just decided that instead of getting irritated with the book, I’d save myself the trouble and read something else.

I started Maids of Misfortune by M. Louisa Locke, but haven’t finished it yet. However, it’s a very interesting read, and isn’t hard to get through like Magicians is, so I definitely will be finishing it soon. I’ll have more to say about it when I finish it. It’s a historical mystery novel, and very interesting.

May TBR

And now for the May TBR! The first book I’ll be reading this month is the final installment in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!) The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan. Which I started this morning on the bus on the way to school, and already have less than 100 pages to read before I’m finished with it. Riordan really pulls me in. I tried to read it slowly, but I just can’t do that. But I’m also terrified that something horrible will happen before the end of this book. So we’ll see how that goes.

The next book I’ll be reading is Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. I never really know where Clare will go with her books, but I hope this one is good. It’s the final installment in the Infernal Devices trilogy. Hopefully Clare doesn’t go the route she did with the Mortal Instruments series and change a trilogy to a six-part series. I can’t take that again. But I’m excited to see what happens with Tessa, Jem, Will, Charlotte, Henry, Sophie, Gideon, and everyone else.

The third book I’ll be reading is Memory in Death, the 22nd book in the In Death series by J.D. Robb. I’m sure it’ll bring more exciting moments for Eve, Roarke, and the rest of the wonderful cast of characters. I also wonder if Avril Icove will make a reappearance in this book.

The fourth book I’ll be reading is Divergent by Veronica Roth. Yes, I still have yet to start this series. It’s been sitting on my shelf since December and just taunting me. So now I’ll finally start reading it. I’ve read a preview and can’t wait to see more of the world Roth created.

The fifth book I’ll be reading is The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Long Francis. This one looked interesting to me because of the description of the type of story: romance, fairy tale, and suspense. What can I say? I’m a sucker for fairy tales.

And finally, I’ll be continuing on the saga of Jamie and Claire with The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon. Maybe once finals are over I’ll be able to finish it. I wasn’t really even able to get to it this month thanks to school and those pesky Magicians and Mrs. Quent.

So that’s the month of May. If I have time and strength, I’m debating writing a post on what I really didn’t like about Beautiful Disaster. As I think about it, I remember what just completely upset me about it, and feel the need to discuss it. Even if that does mean torturing myself by rereading that damn book. We’ll just see what happens!

Goodreads links for May books:

The Last Olympian

Clockwork Princess

Memory in Death

Divergent

The Treachery of Beautiful Things

The Fiery Cross

Edit: Somehow (and I really don’t know how), when I was typing this, “Roarke” got changed to “Rourke”. Ugh. I’m done.